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Successful Melbourne community protests against tunnels

A measure of the success of the protest was that it was covered by four TV stations Channels 2, 7, 9 and 10. Channel 3 may be doing a documentary on the opposition to road tunnels. The Herald Sun mentioned our protest but not the Age news1. (There has been a letter published today see below.) We expect that it may feature in local papers in the coming week including The Melbourne Times, The Moonee Valley and Melbourne Leader papers. (See the website for TV footage and photos by Cory Baudman. See also Ycat website (Yarra Campaign Against the Tunnel) Also an indication that we had been noticed - Premier Brumby refused to face the protest and went into the Transport Summit by a side door via the carpark.We were there to present him with the resolution passed at the rally.

Background - Failure of Government to Consult

Here is some background. As you may know the Brumby government staged 8 transport forums organised by the Department of Transport, ostensibly to consult with the public on Victoria's Transport Plan. Members of Parliament with inner metropolitan seats. Members of Parliament with inner Melbourne seats - namely Bronwyn Pike (Melbourne), Richard Wynne (Richmond) and Carlo Carli (Brunswick) belatedly and at extremely short notice held their own forums. These forums were intended to provide community feedback for the Premier's Transport Summit, which was originally scheduled for mid September. Although the MP's declared that their forums were for local residents they were by invitation only and, significantly many community organisations, individuals and local residents were refused invitations and admission.

Letter in the Age 8 September 2008

"Talking to all the 'right' people"

PREMIER John Brumby claims that we have been consulted over Sir Rod Eddington's grand transport plan for Melbourne (Insight, 6/9). In the past month, eight transport forums - Clayton's consultations - were held in country Victoria and outer suburbs, none in central Melbourne.

Then some Government MPs did their own thing and held forums. Carefully selected individuals and community groups were invited, but many were refused admission. ALP members did score invitations.

Forum facilitators ensured that controversial topics were not raised - such as Eddington's $9 billion road tunnels through the inner city and elevated freeways through the western suburbs.

On Friday, the Premier evaded protesters waiting to present him with demands for sustainable public transport, slipping into his transport summit through the Telstra Dome car park. Not only is the Premier not properly consulting, but he also isn't listening to the wider public on Melbourne's transport fiascoes.

Julianne Bell, convener, Royal Park Protection Group, Hawthorn


1. A list of stories retrieved by a google news query on John Brumby on Monday 8 September included a link to a story "Protesters rally outside tunnel summit". However the link actually led to an almost completely different story entitled. "Plan 'may ease' Melbourne's train crush". The google teaser was:

Protesters rally outside tunnel summit The Age, Australia - Sep 4, 2008
Protesters rallied outside a transport summit in Melbourne in opposition to a proposed east-west road tunnel. About 30 people assembled outside the Telstra ...

Clearly, the protest had been reported early on the web, but an editorial decision was subsequently made to both not publish the story in the printed paper and to overwrite the web report of the story with another report.

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